Check Your Cracks Pt2

3 FATAL FAILURES

Matthew 7:24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”

A structural engineer has the ability to check the cracks in the foundation of your house to determine the health of your foundation. Cracks will show your weaknesses, flaws, areas of stress and developing problems. It would be detrimental to the future of your home to not inspect, evaluate and then make preparations to remedy the problem. Ignoring any issue that needs attention is costly and disastrous.

The same can be said for the foundation of our own lives. Our beliefs, values, principles, relationships and spiritual life is too important to not consider the time, effort and attention that is needed to evaluate, make adjustments and preparation for the next level. These three areas can be fatal failures to our success, character and relationships.

THREE FATAL FAILURES

ONE: Fail to Evaluate

No one claims to be perfect. No one has EVER said to me, “Hey, I’m perfect. I don’t need to improve anything in my life.” Just about everyone wants to improve something in their life. We desire for some areas of our life to change. But are we willing to give an honest evaluation?

So where do you need to improve? Rate your abilities and performance. Evaluate your skill level, ability to communicate, health, spiritual life, time management, organization skills and relationships. When we fail to evaluate, we delay improvements. We cannot make improvements if we are afraid, insecure or too arrogant to evaluate where we are weak, lacking self-discipline, or need to advance our skill level.

TWO: Fail to Make Adjustments

Someone once said, “Nothing changes if nothing changes”. Albert Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results”. Usually it’s the small behaviors or lack of discipline that can hijack our success. Small changes to our budget today can bring huge dividends tomorrow. Investing 30 minutes every morning reading a leadership book can increase our knowledge and skill level. A slight lower or raising of a pitch of a vocalist’s tone can bring perfect harmony. A 1/32 of an inch can bring perfect alignment to hanging a door. When we give an honest evaluation of where we need to grow and make small steps to adjust, a new level can be achieved. Failure to make adjustments is a commitment to staying the same.

THREE: Fail to Prepare for the Next Level

When we are too comfortable with the current level we can be blinded to the preparations that is needed for the next season. Every person in the Bible who needed a miracle or made advancements received an instruction and were responsible for following through with preparation. What if the widow woman who needed a financial miracle failed to gather the pots that she was instructed to borrow (2 Kings 4)? Naaman needed to be healed of Leprosy. What if he would have ignored the instruction of dipping himself seven times in the Jordan river (2 Kings 5:14)? What if he decided to ignore seven times and only dip himself five? What if the disciples decided to ignore Jesus’ instruction to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to fill them (Luke 24:49)? The point is there was specific instructions that were to be followed. Preparations needed to be made. Your next level, your new season will not just simply appear. It will require changes and preparations. A failure to prepare for your next level is a failure to see your next level. We cannot continue to prepare only for the level we are in. We must prepare like we are going to the next level.

These three fatal failures are highly important when it comes to our foundation. Our principles and priorities need to be evaluated and adjusted if they are not producing the right fruit in our life. If our character and integrity is failing us in our relationships, career and spiritual life, then it’s time to prepare to go to a higher level. A healthy foundation will help us stand firm through rough seasons. Putting the principles of Christ in to practice in our life will produce a stable life.

David Shannon Wooten

4-26-17

Check Your Cracks

3 Ways to Measure You are Building on the Right Foundation

One of the most important parts of a building is its foundation. The foundation of a building will determine its strength and longevity. Some parts of the foundation of a building is hidden, but if the foundation is faulty a lot of problems will be exposed. Planning and paying attention to details cannot be overlooked when it comes to the foundation. It’s very important to determine what kind of building you desire… two story, three story, sky rise, and then commit to what kind of foundation you need in order to build.

Jesus’ teaching is very clear and to the point about foundations. In just four verses He unveils a powerful truth that can bring ANYONE great success in life.  He shares in Matthew 7:24-27, the foundation of a house will determine its ability to endure high winds, floods and storms that beat against it. There’s no “if’s” or “but’s” in the illustration of Jesus’ instruction. The house WILL stand or fall based on the foundation in which it is built upon.

I want to draw our attention to something a little more specific about the foundation. The entire foundation is important. But what is even more important is the very first element in the foundation. Architects, builders, carpenters, and masons refer to it as the cornerstone or chief cornerstone. If the very first brick, block or concrete measurement is off, the entire building will be out of square. One inch off at the foundation can show up half a foot off in the roof. Walls will be out of square, kitchen cabinets and counters will not fit right, tile flooring will be off.

Our life is like a building. Personal habits, family relationships, marriages, our spiritual life, our character, integrity, choices and beliefs. These are very important elements in our life and all of them are affected by our foundation. One major part of our foundation is our belief system. How we believe will determine our perspective and will sway our decisions in a certain direction. This is why the Scripture teaches us, the VERY FIRST “STONE” in our foundation must be Christ. Jesus Christ is our foundation. His life modeled before us, becomes our model. His teachings and character becomes our standard for living, behaviors and choices.

Paul affirms this truth in Ephesians 2:20-22, “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

Isaiah prophesied Christ would come as a proven, perfect cornerstone that one could build their life upon. “So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic. 17I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line;’” (Isaiah 28:16-17).

Peter quoted the Isaiah Scripture in 1 Peter 2:6, “For in Scripture it says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame’”. Notice the emphasis on placing our trust in Christ is how we lay the foundation that will produce a life that we can be proud of.

TWO MEN, TWO BELIEFS, TWO DIFFERENT OUTCOMES

It would be wise for us to observe Christ’s teaching in Matthew 7:24-27:

  • Two men have  the desire and vision to build the same house.
  • Two men hear the same truth.
  • Two men have different beliefs and perspective how to build.
  • Two men build on two different foundations.
  • Two men face the same storm.
  • Two men have completely different results from their effort and investment. One is destroyed and the other endures the storms.

3 Ways to Measure that You are Building on the Right Foundation.

  1. How much time, effort and attention do you give to your relationship with Christ? Christ must be the first foundation of your life. We invest in the things that we love and value. We love Christ, we desire His presence, we value His instruction; therefore, we will spend time in His Word and in conversation with Him.
  2. Before you take your “cues” or advice from anyone, do you look to Christ and His teachings are your model and pattern for your life? When it comes to ideology, preparing for life, dealing with relationships, decisions and behaviors… the culture will get it wrong, cool people will get it wrong, popular people will get it wrong, Christ NEVER gets it wrong. He is our model, template for our foundation.
  3. Check your cracks. Do you allow Christ to adjust your perspective? Do you allow Him to change your mind? Are you familiar with repentance, correction and reconciliation? NO ONE gets it right ALL the time. They are not that good. To keep our foundation from deteriorating and contamination we must allow Christ, the perfect foundation be our inspector. Place your foundation, beliefs, ideas up to Christ’s and compare it.

We can be confident that a foundation built on Christ, will endure tests, temptations and struggles. I know you will be happy with the outcome of your life, when Christ is your Chief Cornerstone.

David Shannon Wooten

4-17-17

God has a Third Day for YOU!

 “He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, That we may live before Him. (Hosea 6:2)

 “and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed.” (Matthew 17:23)

I think it’s amazing how God communicates and illustrates His message of hope to us. When we are facing challenges, feeling stuck or even hopelessness; over and over again God is trying to instill faith and hope in us. When you read through God’s Word, His message is clear… “Don’t give up”, “there is still hope”, “I’m The God who works miracles”, “death is not the end”, “I’m The God who gives another chance”, “It’s not over until I say it’s over”.

There is great significance in God illustrating to us the “Third Day.” Many times, God used the three-day period to point to an act of Divine intervention. Think about all of the “Third Day” experiences the Bible records and how God intervened…

  • Three men declared to Abraham that his wife Sara who was barren, would bear a son. (Genesis 18:14)
  • Jonah spent three days in the belly of a whale and was delivered on the third day. He traveled three days across Nineveh communicating God’s message of repentance, restoration and revival. (Jonah 1:17, 3:3)
  • Jesus was missing for three days when He was twelve years old. His parents found Him on the third day. (Luke 2:46)
  • Jesus prophesied He would be raised from the dead on the third day (Matthew 16:21, 17:23)
  • Saul was blinded for three days. He regained his sight on the third day. (Acts 9:9)
  • Abraham traveled for three days on his journey to sacrifice his son Isaac. And God provided a sacrifice for Isaac on the third day. (Genesis 22:4)
  • Jesus first miracle was recorded as “there was a wedding on the Third Day”. (John 2:1)

In almost every case where the “third day” is mentioned, God either proclaimed His intervention was on the way or the actual Divine intervention was taking place in the person’s life.

I believe God is communicating to us that we can have a “third day” experience too. Nowhere in the Bible does God give us permission to give up or lose hope. He consistently encourages us to believe.

THREE things to remember about your Third Day:

1. What you are experiencing today doesn’t mean you will experience it for the rest of your life.

  • Seasons change.
  • God has the authority and ability to turn things around in your life.
  • Don’t just wish the bad experience away, start rejoicing that a new season is coming.
  • Jesus is the one who can step out of the boat on a stormy sea, and speak peace in the face of the wind. His voice has more authority and power than bolts of lightning and claps of thunder.

2. The enemy of your destiny wants you to believe it’s over.

  • Satan and those who hated Jesus, thought it was over when He was hanging on the cross and when they buried Him. But on the “Third Day” they had quite the surprise.
  • Failure is not forever.
  • Failure is a way for us to learn.
  • Failure can make us stronger and more resilient.
  • Thomas Edison was a great inventor. He had a lot of success but that success did not come without experiencing failure.
  • “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”  Thomas A. Edison
  • “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”  Thomas A. Edison

3. When you are faithful to believe, and seek God; He is faithful to answer.

  • “The faithful love of the LORDnever ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
  • “The LORD is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him.” (Lamentations 3:25)
  • “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)

Don’t give up hope. Invite God into your circumstance. He is the key. God has a Third Day for you!

Maggie Has Been Rejected 50,000 Times

This is Maggie. Britains most “unloved dog”. That’s what Britain paper “The Daily Mail” wrote in 2015. Maggie is a whippet cross who was taken to Serendipity Kennel in Cellarhead, Staffordshire as a puppy because a large family was unable to cope and care for her. For eleven years over 50,000 people who were looking for a dog overlooked Maggie. No one wanted Maggie.

What really breaks my heart at an escalated level is the thousands of children who have been rejected or abandoned by their parents. In some cases, the children are not rejected but have lost their parents to death, prison or to extreme illness. Children need parents. They need care-givers. They need love, affection and affirmation. It is devastating and a detriment to a Childs health to be left alone, ignored and not nurtured on every level… body, soul and spirit.

When we bring attention to loneliness, we must remember our elderly who are in nursing homes or unable to leave their homes. Thousands of our elderly have no one to visit them. They spend hours bound to a bed or to a very small square footage of space. A visit from anyone always puts a smile on their faces.

Loneliness is a real issue. No-one wants to feel like they are alone or do not have anyone they can talk to about ideas, problems or sharing things that excite them. Professional studies have proven that we are wired for social connection. From plants, animals to humans, the results are the same, when they are neglected human interaction… the outcome will be sickness and possible death.

In some cases, the cure for loneliness is relativity easy and low sacrifice. Its a simple 30 to 60 minute conversation. Its a phone call. It’s sharing a meal. Its taking a walk together. In some cases it will require more sacrifice. It’s making a relational commitment to be a friend. It’s spending time mentoring. Adopting a child. Whether a small investment of time or a larger sacrifice…

You can be someones cure for loneliness. 

5 Things to Help Fight Against Loneliness

  1. Invite someone out for coffee, breakfast, lunch or dinner. You may be the one that feels lonely. Don’t let the possible feeling of rejection stop you from inviting someone. The first invite might not work for their schedule or you may have invited the wrong person. Don’t give up. Someone wants to talk with you.
  2. Take time to call 3 people this week. Spend some time on the phone with them. Offer words of encouragement, scripture verses and a prayer before you end the conversation.
  3. Find a teen that seems to be fighting loneliness. Get permission from their parents and take them to lunch, play basketball, fishing, go get ice cream. Talk about future goals and plans. Take time to dream with them about their future. Find out what they are passionate about. Encourage them. Breathe life into their future.
  4. Treasure the moments that people give you. If someone takes out time to talk with you. Notice you. Invite you. Thank them. When you feel lonely, or you have the thought that no-one cares, remind yourself that someone took out time to call you or they sent you a card. Those small moments mean a lot. I believe when we are truly thankful for the small moments that people give us and we sow into other peoples lives, God will allow us to reap a harvest of friendships.
  5. Remember these Scriptures. Pray and ask the Lord to help you extend His presence in to someones life this week.
  • Proverbs 18:24a, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly…”
  • Luke 6:31, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
  • Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.”
  • John 15:12,This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
  • Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”